Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: prosthetics

The “New Paws” Hoax: How alt-right trolls piled on a disabled man to boost their failing careers.

by Patch O'Furr

A shocking accident.

In 2015 I met a furry who joined furmeets I organize in Northern California. He’s bright, enthusiastic and fun to host. It was a shock when he posted on Facebook about suffering an accident. There were graphic medical photos of extreme frostbite caused by dry ice.

Welp, I’m in the hospital with a life changing situation. It was my own damn fault. Been pushing myself so hard for so long, sleep deprived, pushing myself with arthritis in my wrists. Basically I fell asleep while icing my wrists last night. Woke up 6 hours later, hands were frozen. Went to the hospital, they care flighted me to a burn center in California. It was too late, damage had been done, it’s resulting in a bilateral hand amputation so things are about to get very interesting in my life. I’m doing ok, remaining optimistic. Honestly I’m anxious to get it over with and move on with my life.

To help with costs of hand amputations, one of his co-workers started a crowdfund. I shared it on Twitter, and added a light-hearted comment about helping him to get “new paws” with an article I wrote 6 years ago: Scaly, feathery alternative limbs leap the uncanny valley into the future of prosthetic design (2013). It was about improving the lives of amputees. Instead of hiding prosthetics, they can be featured, like transforming scars with cool tattoos.

I commented about “new paws” before I saw anyone else say it. The crowdfund was his co-workers idea. Those ideas didn’t come from him.

Read the rest of this entry »

Scaly, feathery alternative limbs leap the uncanny valley into the future of prosthetic design

by Patch O'Furr

Flayrah News, 4/29/2013:

The mention of an amputee flaunting a showy, bird-plumaged prosthetic arm should make the Furry connection clear, in this story about the work of the Alternative Limb Project (ALP) and it’s director, Sophie de Oliveira Barata.

prosthetic179De Oliveira Barata is “challenging the belief that prosthetic limbs should aim to look as realistic as possible.” Her career started in special effects for film and TV, before she moved to work with a realistic prosthetics company for eight years. In her opinion:

The dominant thinking is that a new limb should be as close a match to the previous limb as possible. But until technology gets to the point where you can have a realistic looking limb in movement and aesthetics, there will always be this uncanny middle ground. Having an alternative limb embraces difference and can help create a sense of ownership and empowerment.

The new option for limbs include crystal, stereo speakers, lighting, and simulated internal anatomy to tranform disability-concealers into creative, eye-catching fashion. What’s next, hooves and paws?

Fursuit-owning readers may appreciate why, as custom-designed pieces, these limbs do not come cheap, with a cost between $4,600 and $21,000. In Britain, government health funding is dedicated only to realistic prosthetics. But De Oliveira Barata argues that alternative prostheses could be just as beneficial. It opens the imagination to a whacky sci-fi future where species-transition could be as acceptable as gender reassignment. Until then, artists, designers and biomedical engineers can explore creative inspiration and improve the lives of patients with this new kind of prosthetics.